You have to look closely into the swing seat to see a decorated Gopal.  He is Krishna as a little boy, known for being naughty. In our Pooja for Janmashtami, I told him that if he were too naughty he would have to go in Rani's crib.  My humor was appreciated. 



Seriously though, this is the first Jamnashtami we have celebrated at Shishur Sevay.  At least where we are, Indian celebrations occur within the family, within the homes.  So, sometimes we are really alone, and this year I happened to hear what actually goes on and decided we would do what we could.  One of the teachers gave Bijoy a list of what to buy, and then late in the morning she and he started decorating the wooden swing in which Gopal would sit.  We had special clothes for him, and a crown, all of which was easliy bought as a package.








Meanwhile, as work went on, Ian struck up some conversations with Ganga and Sonali:








But Sonali was more interested in thumb-rest time.  Ian was far more successful with Ganga.






In fact she was very interested:





But work continued for Gopal's swing and Ganga made sure the camera caught her too.









And finally





Now for the bare outline of the meaning, a quote from an unidentified web site (oops):


"Janmashtami legends relates to the different interesting stories of Shri Krishna. Beginning from his birth till the days of his later years, people know Shri Krishna as a Protector of human beings. They still remember and commemorate his birth to honor Him for what He did for humankind. On the day of Janmashtami, people pray to Him to destroy all the evil from this earth and make it the best place to live in. they ask forgiveness for their misdeeds and also thank him for His benevolence. They know that he will always be there for their help.

The different Janmashtami legends that gave rise to the celebration of the Janmashtami is very interesting to know. The most famous legendary episode of Janmashtami is the killing of King Kansa who was the maternal uncle of Lord Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, there was a prophecy that declared that the child of Devaki would kill Kansa. And Lord Krishna was that child who was born to Devaki but was brought up by Yashoda and Nand at Gokul"


So, in this year of 2009, we finally learned about the meaning and procedures, the making of the swing, which they loved to make go back and forth with the string of marigolds.  None of the girls knew of Janmashtami, nor had they seen Gopal in the swing.  At prayer time, Gopal was with us, and that's when I issued the warning to him about Rani's crib. 




Just a note about Rani's Crib… Rani used to be unmanageable at times so she was kept in a crib — a crib I had built just for her.  Now she is rarely in it, but it's become the symbolic "time out" place if a big girl's behavior is out of control or like Rani used to be.  When Ian hurt his sister's feelings and she put it on Facebook, I threatened to put Ian in Rani's crib, but I think it was mostly a misunderstanding so he didn't have to go in Rani's crib.


We didn't have to buy Gopal because some time ago I bought each girl a Gopal for her locker.  The girls have slowly collected Gods to put in their lockers, except with Gopal they decided to keep them all together on the Pandal.  So one went on the swing, and another went home with Ian, as a little gift from Shishur Sevay.




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August 2009
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